Rosie (Lily Collins) and Alex (Sam Clafin) have been best friends since they were small children, and despite having grown up together, they never realised their growing romantic feelings for one another until the night of Rosie’s 18th birthday, when they shared a drunken kiss. 12 years, several broken relationships and one surprise baby later, the two finally confront their feelings, and decide where their future lies.
Love, Rosie is based on the Cecelia Ahern novel Where Rainbows End, and although the film is set in Boston and some random English town, the film was almost entirely shot in Dublin, which is good news for all of us who have been saying Dublin is pretty for all these years, but bad news for those of us who live in the city, since the film is adamant it is set in England, but is so obviously filmed in Dublin.
Lily Collins does a fine job with Rosie, the character at the centre of the film. The trouble with Rose – as with most of the characters in the film – is that she fells more like a character from a Taylor Swift music video than a fully rounded human being. Sam Clafin plays the guy with the cheekbones number one, the one that Rosie really loves and wants to be with and Christian Coke plays the other guy with cheekbones, the one that Rosie does not really want to be with. Suki Waterhouse plays clingy blonde number one, and Tamsin Edgerton is clingy blonde number two. Rounding out this gang of ill-defined characters is Jaime Winstone as Rosie’s punky but less attractive gal pal Ruby.
The story is littered with inconsistencies, convenient twists and silly but well placed ideas; in fact the whole thing feels as though it was put together in an ‘if that, then this’ kind of framework, which leads to some silly plot points and some incredibly schmaltzy moments. Nothing is really done to give any of the characters personality beyond their hair, faces and the way they dress, so again, this feels like a Taylor Swift music video than a 102 minute film. As well as this, deciding to span 12 years in the course of a relatively short film is a disaster, as we are only treated to a couple of moments from each year and this stretches the plot and characters even further.
As director, Christian Ditter seems to be aware that Love, Rosie has little more to do than slightly funny, romantic without any real cause and to contain more than one intentionally painfully awkward moment. This leads to a lot of Lily Allen songs on the soundtrack – admittedly, her wonderful hate anthem F**k You is well used – a shouty mobile phone conversation about a condom going missing and characters constantly declaring their love for one another without any evidence or chemistry to back it up.
Love, Rosie is a rom-com that even die hard fans of madly romantic films will find nothing in. Lily Collins does fine with what she is given, but the rest of the cast is reduced to clichés and are defined by one physical characteristic. The story is ridiculous and hinges on many ridiculous ideas and even then is stretched paper-thin. Still, Dublin looks better than it has done in years, and that one song by Lily Allen is sort of fun.